Wait Training: Delay is Not Denial
by Marilynn Chadwick "How do I hold onto my hopes and dreams when God seems silent?" The question came from a good friend and a sincere follower of Christ. Her question hit a chord. How do we handle those times when we have prayed and prayed, but the answer is so slow in coming? Perhaps we sense that a particular dream is God's plan for us. But the days, weeks, months, and even years go by. How do we keep our dream alive? I think back to what I refer to as my season of "wait training." In our early years of marriage, David and I looked forward to the day we would have children. But our hopes for a baby stretched into six months, a year, two years, and eventually four years. Forty-eight straight months of drugs, surgeries, tests, tests, and more tests. And still no baby. But the years of waiting proved to be a good time to seek God. Strength came as I rested in the Lord, studied his Word, and held fast to his promises...day after day. I learned what Jesus meant when he encouraged us to "abide" in him (John 15:5). I drew special strength from Psalm 37:4: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." I began to believe that God would either fulfill my heart's desires or change my desires to reflect his will for me. I also found comfort when I stepped out of my own pain to serve others. I explored ways to serve the least and lost in my own community. Opportunities opened up to travel to Africa on my first of what would be many missions trips. I discovered that when I poured my life out for those hurting worse than I was, an unexplainable joy began to spring forth. Isaiah 58:10 became a life verse: If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. Seeking God and serving others while waiting for my own dream gave birth to a larger purpose. And "not getting what I wanted when I wanted it" turned out to be one of the best tools to sharpen my hearing of God's voice. I discovered what it means to "delight in the Lord." Friends, our seasons of waiting can open the door to deeper intimacy with Jesus. What's more, those times we thought were barren can become our seasons of greatest fruitfulness and joy.